In The Awakening, how does Edna describe the night to Robert when he walks her home?

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catharinek eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Edna describes the night as being "like a night in a dream." She questions whether there will ever be another night like this night and views those around her as being "like some uncanny, half-human beings." She says, "There must be spirits abroad to-night."

Edna speaks these things to Robert after she has heard Madamoiselle Reisz play the piano and also after she has been able to swim for the first time. Robert has given her swim lessons daily but this is the first time she has been able to swim on her own. She was able to do this after listening to Madamoiselle Reisz play Chopin. All of this takes place during the evening. It is at this point in the novel that Edna begins her awakening. She has discovered her discontent with being a mother and wife. She wants to explore her own artistic inclinations like Madamoiselle Reisz is able to. Finally, Edna finds herself attracted to Robert. The act of swimming in the ocean has helped her give birth to her new self. While she does not understand this completely herself, she is aware that something mystic has happened and that she can never look at those around her in the same way. They are only half-human now that she is discovering what it means to be fully human herself. The night is like a dream because the feelings that have been stirred in her are what set her on the path of leaving her family and following her own dreams.